REVIEW: Hardware: Rivals

What feels like a (bad) clone of the Twisted Metal games, Hardware: Rivals fails to keep you interested longer than an hour or two.

Hardware: Rivals is a vehicular combat game that can only be played online across various gametypes, including deathmatch, team deathmatch, team elimination, domination, and so forth. Sounds fun on paper, and it is for a short while, however there isn’t enough here to keep you interested for too long.

Everything about the game looks great – the menus, vehicles, maps, and the environments, but ultimately the gameplay is bland. One of the core issues is the fact there is no offline modes whatsoever – too many times players online would simply camp around the “power weapons” and basically annihilate everyone else. I did it (to prove a point, obviously), and could very well get a 10 kill streak with no issues.

Two opponents already fighting one another can often make for easy kills. Kill thief!

Two opponents already fighting one another can often make for easy kills.

If there was an option for offline modes with bots, things would feel a lot more balanced and the overall experience could greatly improve. There’s a huge imbalance with how certain spawns and weapons are placed around each map, and it just makes the game completely unfair. Even with beta testing, it doesn’t seem too much feedback was actually taken onboard. It’s a shame as this could have been a fantastic little game.

Each map has its own theme going on, along with a special weapon you can activate at certain times throughout a match. For example, Lost Temple has a gigantic pyramid in the middle of the map – eventually you can collect a “Fire of the Ancients” weapon, which when used, will spew flames from the top of said pyramid and annihilate all opponents. Players can avoid this by taking refuge inside the actual pyramid.

Even with the many gametypes and special rules, Hardware: Rivals still fails to impress.

Another is the “Airstrike”, made available on Blister Lake, which like mentioned previously, is able to easily defeat any opponents if they aren’t in a safe location. These are nice touches and certainly add a sense of urgency when everyone starts racing towards the special weapon before anyone else can activate it. An additional sense of dread is quickly followed if someone else used the weapon as you have a short amount of time to find sanctuary before it fully activates.

Scattered throughout the maps are armour and health replenishments, which should be on your mind at all times as you will take damage pretty much all the time – unless you hide and just keep on collecting secondary/power weapons. But you wouldn’t do that, would you? Said weapons include the homing missle, bombs, lasers, and my favourite; the rail gun.

Getting caught in a “Frostbite” will make you a sitting duck as you’ll move extremely slowly, if at all.

The rail gun certainly requires a decent aim, but when you manage to pull it off, you will kill an enemy with just one shot, and it feels so satisfying. I would recommend playing the rail-gun only mode(s) as this was something I found myself having the most fun with. Imagine the rail gun on Quake, but attached to a vehicle.

There are different types of vehicles made available to you, ranging from a Fast Attack Vehicle (FAV) to a huge tank. A FAV isn’t the most effective when it comes to withstanding damage, but can move around really quick, making it easier to pick up power ups and such. The tank is a beast and is capable of doing a decent amount of damage, but is sluggish and far too slow. Experiment and see which suits you the most – quick machine guns or slow (but powerful) rockets.

Long distance rail-kills are always satisfying.

As you gain XP and salvage (money) at the end of each match, you are able to level up, in turn given access to upgrades and different skins for your vehicles and characters. This adds more of a reason to climb the ranks, but also feels like a quick attempt to get you playing the game more than you really want to.

Hardware: Rivals is okay at best, and is capable of providing some pretty fun moments, but overall I wouldn’t spend more than a tenner on it. Mehhh…

Rating: 5/10

Available On: PS4

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